A thrilling tale of secrets hidden in the literary legend’s half-finished manuscript
SPRINGFIELD, VA – Death strikes England’s foremost novelist Charles Dickens, his latest tale only half told. Was he murdered because someone feared a ruinous revelation? Or was it revenge for some past misdeed? Set in the Kent countryside and London slums of 1870, Lyn Squire’s “Immortalised to Death” (Level Best Books, September 26th, 2023) reveals the ending to Charles Dickens’s unfinished “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, while diving deep into Dickens’ evolving and ultimately tragic double life.
Debut author Lyn Squire kicks off his electrifying Dunston Burnett Trilogy with legendary Victorian novelist Charles Dickens dead at his desk, pen still in hand. The mystery unravels as Dickens’ nephew and unlikely detective Dunston Burnett, tries to find the solution of his uncles’ unfinished novel. Convinced that the identity of Dickens’ murderer lies in the book’s missing conclusion, Dunston becomes obsessed with investigating those closest to Dickens. A stunning revelation crowns this tale about the mysterious death of England’s foremost novelist, and the long-held secret hidden in his half-finished manuscript.
The deft plotting will remind readers of Agatha Christie and the evocative prose will have them questioning which parts of the book are fiction and nonfiction. Squire seamlessly reimagines Dickens’ untimely death and final unfinished story while tying it neatly into a thrilling whodunnit. Is Dunston Burnett, a diffident, middle-aged, retired bookkeeper, able to crack the case of his uncle’s murder, or does he only find buried secrets in his brilliant continuation to Dickens’ novel?
“Immortalised to Death”
Lyn Squire | September 26th, 2023 | Level Best Books | Period Mystery
Paperback | 978-1-68512-358-1 | $16.95
Ebook | 978-1-68512-359-8 | $5.99
LYN SQUIRE was born in Cardiff, South Wales. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wales, his master’s at the London School of Economics and his doctorate at Cambridge University. Lyn is now an American citizen living in Virginia. During a twenty-five year career at the World Bank, Lyn published over thirty articles and several books within his area of expertise. Lyn also served as editor of the Middle East Development Journal for over a decade, and was the founding president of the Global Development Network, an organization dedicated to supporting promising scholars from the developing world.
Lyn has always been an avid reader of whodunits and has reviewed scores of mysteries for the City Book Review (Sacramento, CA), but it was the thrill of solving Charles Dickens’s unfinished ‘Mystery of Edwin Drood’ that convinced him to put aside his development pen and turn to fiction. Finding a solution to the mystery has attracted massive interest since the author’s death in 1870. A 1998 bibliography lists over 2,000 entries, with continuations ranging from the obvious (a Sherlock Holmes pastiche) to the absurd (The Mysterious Mystery of Rude Dedwin). Lyn’s version of what happened to Edwin is revealed in his first novel, Immortalised to Death. The adventures of his protagonist, Dunston Burnett, a non-conventional amateur detective, continue in Fatally Inferior and The Séance of Murder, the second and third stories in The Dunston Burnett Trilogy. Find more about Lyn on his website.
Advanced praise for Lyn Squire and
“Immortalised to Death”
Immortalised to Death’s ingenious solution to fiction’s most celebrated unfinished mystery holds the key to the secret life, and murder, of legendary author, Charles Dickens himself. This novel’s cleverly wrought combination of fact and fiction will grip fans of historical mysteries from the opening death scene to the last astounding revelation.
– Herta Feely, award-winning author of
Saving Phoebe Murrow and founder of Chrysalis Editorial.
“Lyn Squire mixes the novels of Charles Dickens with real events, adds a bit of his own fiction for a kick, and creates a true old-fashioned cocktail of a book that keeps the reader desperately turning the pages to find the resolution only to be met by yet another twist in the story. Dunston Burnett is the perfectly flawed protagonist who is continuously underestimated as he charges forward looking for the killer of Charles Dickens by piecing together the end of the legend’s latest novel, which was only half-complete when he died. Weaving fact and fiction together, the novel enmeshes you in the small-town setting and time of 1870 England. Immortalised to Death by Lyn Squire is a historical mystery that will keep the reader guessing until the last pages before returning to the present day and realizing that it was only a book, and not time travel, that they had just experienced.”
– Matt Cost, award-winning author of twelve histories and mysteries,
most recently, Velma Gone Awry
In an interview, Lyn Squire can discuss:
- How this book was inspired by a story contest of everyday readers and writers trying to finish / “solve” Dickens’ last mystery story “Mystery of Edwin Drood”
- The widespread fascination with Dickens’ death and last novel, and how Squire worked to uphold Dickens’ legacy with his book
- The importance of historical accuracy when referencing real people, and the process Squire undertook to ensure the accuracy of his book
- His plans for the upcoming novels in the Dunston Burnett Trilogy
- His upbringing in South Wales and how his childhood in the UK influenced “Immortalised to Death”
An Interview with
How did the thrill of reimagining the ending of “Mystery of Edwin Drood” lead you to the main idea for “Immortalised to Death”?
It was a process. Once the excitement of my Eureka moment had passed, my first thought was to write up my solution as non-fiction and be done with it. But then, the more involved I became, the more I saw that my ending to Dickens’s mystery, the only one he ever wrote, suggested an overarching story-line encompassing the author’s liaison with Ellen Ternan and the much-debated question about a possible offspring from that illicit union.
When was your first introduction to Charles Dickens and why did you choose to use his legacy as the cornerstone of your upcoming novel?
Apart from the novels themselves, what I find most interesting about Charles Dickens is his writing technique. Because installments of his books were published every month, he was constantly under the pressure of a thirty-day deadline, but he was such a natural writer that the words just flowed from his pen. To begin with his stories (The Pickwick Papers is the best example) were just a series of loosely connected incidents with no underlying plot which made the monthly cycle easier to manage. Then later in his career as his stories became more complex, he laid out the entire arc of the plot in notes before starting to write. Interestingly, his notes for the second half of The Mystery of Edwin Drood were numbered but otherwise blank.
To what extent is historical accuracy important to you and your writing process? What did the research look like for “Immortalized to Death”?
Historical accuracy is not a must for me. If one is writing fiction, then surely it is acceptable to adapt incidents and descriptions to fit a story’s needs. That said, I do try to stay close to the facts. For instance, I visited Gadshill Place, Dickens’s home in Kent, to make sure that the book’s description of his home was as faithful to the original as possible. For me, though, the goal is to provide readers with a convincing impression of place and time, and not overwhelm them with detail.
You grew up in South Wales, to what extent did your upbringing in the UK influence your writing of “Immortalised to Death”?
Wales is known for its cultural life and especially its eisteddfods, festivals of music, dance, and song. Wales also lays claim to great writers like Dylan Thomas and Roald Dahl. When I moved to America, I very much wanted to keep my Welsh heritage alive. Since I can’t hold a tune to save my life and have two left feet, I turned to writing. Cymru am byth! (Wales forever).
What’s next for you as a writer?
The immediate goal is to complete The Dunston Burnett Trilogy. His second adventure – Fatally Inferior – is complete in draft but I have only just started writing The Séance of Murder. If this effort receives favourable attention, I will explore new options. If not, I’ll take up golf!
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